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French as a Second Language

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Last updated on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s (HWDSB) French as a Second Language Programming is guided by the three core priorities set out in A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 1-12:

  • Increase student confidence, proficiency and achievement in French as a Second Language (FSL)
  • Increase the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation
  • Increase student, educator, parent, and community engagement in FSL

These core priorities are at the forefront of HWDSB’s commitment to FSL that envisions:

“All students communicating and interacting with growing confidence in French.”

HWDSB offers two FSL programs – Core French and French Immersion.  Each of the programs differ in intensity but share a common purpose: To develop student’s communication skills in the French language.

The programs teach students to listen, speak, read, and write in French through real world language opportunities. French as a Second Language also promotes the use of language learning strategies, goal setting/reflection and an appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other regions of the world.

  • a proven way of acquiring excellent language skills in French
  • specifically designed for parents who do not speak French, but wish their children to speak both official languages
  • begins in Grade 1 and all students in the city of Hamilton are eligible

French Immersion Booklet


Parents/Guardians should begin registering their child in February at their in-catchment French Immersion school, to ensure they receive a spot in the school’s French Immersion class

Information Sessions

Come to an information session to find out more about the program and registration process.

Information sessions for the 2018-2019 school year will be held in the fall of 2017.

Support for your child

French Language Support – After school program 

Canadian Parents for French (Ontario)

Canadian Parents for French

Parent Guide to Supporting Your Child’s Success in French Immersion and Extended French

For more information about French Immersion, please review the following materials:

You can also connect with Hamilton’s Francophone community to learn about events and activities, or call HWDSB’s French Consultant at 905-527-5092 ext. 2653.


Visit our find a school page to find what French Immersion school your child would attend.

Family of Schools – WESTDALE

Family of Schools – SHERWOOD

Cootes Paradise (Gr. 1-5)

900 King Street West, Hamilton
Phone: 905.522.0601
Cootes Paradise Website

Dalewood (Gr. 6-8)

1150 Main Street West
Phone: 905.528.8631
Dalewood Website

Dundana (Gr. 1-5)

23 Dundana Avenue
Dundana Website

Earl Kitchener (Gr. 1-5)

300 Dundurn Street South
Earl Kitchener Website

Guy B. Brown (Gr. 1-8)

55 Braeheid Avenue
Guy B. Brown Website

Ryerson (Gr. 6-8)

222 Robinson Street
Ryerson Website

Sir William Osler (Gr. 6-8)

330 Governor’s Road
L9H 0A3
Sir William Osler Website

A.M. Cunningham (Gr. 1-5)

100 Wexford Avenue South, Hamilton
A.M. Cunninham Website

Ancaster Senior (Gr. 7-8)

295 Nakoma Road, Ancaster
Ancaster Senior Website

École Élémentaire Michaëlle Jean (Gr. 1-8)

121 Highway # 56
École Élémentaire Michaëlle Jean Website

Fessenden (Gr. 1-6)

168 Huron Avenue
Fessenden Website

Glen Brae (Gr. 6-8)

50 Secord Drive
Glen Brae Website

Glen Echo (Gr. 1-5)

140 Glen Echo Drive
Glen Echo Website

Lawfield (Gr. 1-8)

45 Berko Avenue
Lawfield Website

Norwood Park (Gr. 1-8)

165 Terrace Drive
Norwood Park Website

There has been a significant shift in Core French programs across Ontario.  Core French Programs no longer rely on memorization of learning skills through drills of endless lists of verbs and vocabulary. Rather, Core French programs allow students to communicate and interact in authentic real-life scenarios.

At HWDSB, learning activities focus as much on listening and speaking as on reading and writing.  Opportunities for student conversations are maximized to develop communication and interaction skills and growing confidence in French.

Elementary Core French Programming

At the elementary level, Core French is mandatory for all students in English-language elementary schools.  Students receive up to 200 minutes of French instruction per week and must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8. Often the French as a Second Language teacher is a specialist who teaches multiple grades.

The goal of this program is to develop basic communication skills in French. Therefore, opportunities for oral interaction and spontaneous discussion are offered. The program also develops students’ appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other parts of the world.

All students are taught using the expectations of the French as a Second Language Ontario Curriculum. Teachers use their professional judgement to select materials and promote discussions that support student engagement, ability and confidence.

Guiding Documents

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

Including Students with Special Education Needs in French as a Second Language Programs

Growing Success – Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

What can my child expect to learn in Core French?

A child in the Core French program can expect to develop the communication skills needed to understand and interact with others, to express themselves and to communicate simple ideas at a basic level.

How can I be involved in the Core French Program at my school, if I don’t speak French?

Studies show that students perform better in school if their parents/guardians are involved in their education.  Parents/guardians can be involved in the Core French program in a variety of ways:

  • Get to know your child’s teacher, and participate in parent-teacher interviews.
  • Encourage your child to learn French.  Turn the tables – let your child teach you French! This will build his or her confidence and self-esteem.
  • Offer your child the opportunity to hear and speak French in authentic situations outside of the classroom, such as
    • watching French television,
    • listening to French radio,
    • reading French books
    • viewing the ISE website
    • participating in franco-cultural events offered by local francophone organizations
      • Centre Francais Hamilton offers monthly family events which includes concerts, shows and summer festivals.

What do I do if my child encounters difficulties in Core French?

If you are concerned that your child is experiencing difficulties, you should contact the Core French teacher together you can discuss what can be done to help your child’s learning. Most children encounter challenges from time to time, but if your child is worried or frustrated, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that should be resolved as soon as possible. Children progress at different rates and learn in different ways, so teachers plan instruction and assessment considering students’ interests, learning styles, and previously acquired knowledge and skills.

Helpful Resources

The Diplome d’Etude de Langue Francaise (DELF) is a diploma issued by the French Ministry of National Education in recognition of French-language studies. The CIEP (Centre international d’études pédagogiques) is the public organization appointed by France’s Ministry of National Education to oversee the teaching and administrative aspects of the examination. These diplomas show a student’s proficiency in French and are recognized around the world.

In the spring of each year, HWDSB offers all Grade 12 Core and Immersion students the opportunity to challenge the DELF and demonstrate their French-language skills at three levels: A2, B1, B2. Each diploma corresponds to one of the four lower levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. At each level, a series of examinations evaluates the four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Your child, with the support of their teacher, will self-select which diploma to try for.

Students who successfully challenge the DELF will have:

  • life-long certification
  • recognition of their proficiency in French
  • a document for their resume or portfolio
  • a description of what they can do in oral communication, listening, reading and writing in French
  • a certified language assessment for acceptance into a French University
  • travel, job and educational opportunities

More information about DELF:

If you have further questions, please contact your child’s French teacher.

French as a Second Language (FASL) Advisory Committee is advisory in nature with a focus on French programming in elementary and secondary as well as Ministry and community supports that enhance the learning experience for our students.

Join the the French as a Second Language Advisory Committee

HWDSB’s French as a Second Language (FASL) Advisory Committee is seeking members to advise Trustees on French programming in elementary and secondary schools, as well as Ministry and community supports that enhance the learning experience for our students.

Please complete the following form to indicate your interest by Monday, September 25, 2017.

French as a Second Language Advisory Committee

FASL meeting dates.

Wed Sep 27 2017 7:00 PM

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.


Wed Nov 29 2017 7:00 PM

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Wed Jan 31 2018 7:00 PM

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Wed Mar 28 2018 7:00 PM

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Wed May 30 2018 7:00 PM

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Transportation for French Immersion is offered to students whose in catchment school exceeds the walking distances of:

Elementary School Grades 1-8 1.6 kms

The method of transportation for elementary French Immersion is:

Grade 1 to 6 – Black and Yellow Buses with community stops.
A community stop is a centrally-located stop, similar to a transit style stop, for students and may not be within walking distance of a student’s home. Community stops may change year to year based on the home addresses of students.

Grade 7 and 8 – HSR (unless there is an existing route that accommodates these students)

Where HSR is not available, alternative transportation will be provided.